unividualism vs. non-dualism

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Has anyone here explored Tim Freke's unividualism?

It's expressed partially in this discussion that addresses the extremely serious pitfalls of contemporary non-dual teachings.



I'm watching this after listening to the excellent interview between Jessica Eve (in the video above with Tim Freke) and Rick Archer on BATGAP published this week here on the harmful effects of Neo-Advaita and how to recover from them:



There are all kinds of ancient non-dual traditions and it's best not to put them all in the same pot. But obviously there's a lot of serious problems (moral, psychological, metaphysical) with the nihilism of the Neo-Advaitans (nothing exists), and arguably with some of the ancient philosophies as well like Advaita Vedanta (unless the "transaction level" is very much emphasized as equally important).

It doesn't make sense to me to dissolve individuality and plurality into an impersonal oneness. Source didn't create so that the goal is to deny the reality and value of creation. The attraction for me in exploring so-called non-dual teachings in the first place is the desire for feeling the connection between everything. The perspective that makes sense to me is one that sees and loves the creation as a unified expression of Source, but one that is to be lived and appreciated precisely in its extraordinary and rich plurality (informed by a sense of the underlying unity). So it's unity (in relationship) rather than "oneness".

"The glorious both...and..." as Rich Archer says.

Tim Freke's unidualism or unividualism I think is a potentially appealing approach. What's missing for me that it doesn't take the paranormal and survival data/experiences and is very much based, so far as I can tell, exclusively on human earthly life.
(This post was last modified: 2022-09-03, 10:43 PM by Ninshub. Edited 4 times in total.)
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There seem to be a lot of Westerners who've become interested in teachings that say the self is an illusion...not sure why that would be.

I'd be curious to see how these ideas are practiced in Asia and by who. For example even in India your average person, AFAIK, is largely unaware of these teachings.

It just seems very close to the "illusion of self" the materialist evangelicals like to bleat on about...even as they pat themselves on the back for being "Brights"...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2022-09-04, 12:08 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: There seem to be a lot of Westerners who've become interested in teachings that say the self is an illusion...not sure why that would be.

I'd be curious to see how these ideas are practiced in Asia and by who. For example even in India your average person, AFAIK, is largely unaware of these teachings.

It just seems very close to the "illusion of self" the materialist evangelicals like to bleat on about...even as they pat themselves on the back for being "Brights"...

Exactly. I think part of it (for the neo-Advaita teachers and the people who flock to them) is the promise of deliverance of suffering. If there's no sufferer, there's no suffering. (The sad irony is that if you fall into this trap it will induce immense suffering.)

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Through having spent many weeks now doing some research into this, superficial as it still may be, I do want to discriminate who is being targeted as the "neo-Advaitans".

On one level, we have various traditional Asian nondualisms - Advaita Vedanta, Kashmir Shaivism, Mahayana Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, some aspects of Tibetan Buddhism - and they've all got their differences and may not have all the same potential problems.

At another level, you've 20th century sages like Ramana Maharshi and contemporary thinkers who teach a "direct path": Rupert Spira, Francis Lucille, Jeff Foster as he is now vs in the past, a whole bunch of others (you can even put Eckhart Tolle in that category, although he's really a mixture of elements). Though you'll find them listed in the Wiki page for Neo-Advaita, that's not really what they are. Lucille coined the word Neo-Advaita (which he does not identify himself with), and Spira criticizes it.

(Here's Lucille talking about how he coined the term allegedly and how it distinguishes itself from what and others are doing.
  )

At the third level, you've got the neo-Advaitans proper, radical or fundamental non-dualists who do away with all the traditions and the very idea of a knower; nothing is actually happening. Tony Parsons, Andrew Cohen, Richard Sylvester, Jeff Foster before he came to his senses (here's one article where he talked about coming out this mentality), a whole bunch of people fit this category. Here's a good actualized.org forum thread that discusses the differences between the 2nd and 3rd levels.

The Rick Archer and Tim Freke videos above mostly target the the last bunch. However it's arguable that some of the criticism address the 2nd level as well, and maybe some versions of classic Advaita Vedanta.

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Regarding classic Advaita Vedanta, I've almost finished James Swartz' How to Attain Enlightenment based in that tradition. It's clear there, and elsewhere, that this is not something that is meant to be digested like a Big Mac. You need proper preparation, have certain qualifications, and practice other yogas like Karma Yoga and devotion yoga, and it really is meant, as I understand it, for recluses, not for people living in the world. You've got to be motivated to renounce the world. So no wonder very few Indians have walked down that path.

Now I think there are presenters of that teaching who don't see it that way. Anyhow, for myself, I've definitely come to the conclusion that it's not something I'm interested in. Reading about the process of basically investigating all your likes and dislikes and seeing and extinguishing all the "vasanas" that produce them (good and bad), is really the elimination of the personality.
(This post was last modified: 2022-09-04, 02:07 AM by Ninshub. Edited 6 times in total.)
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Very good debate/conversation where Tim Freke engages Rupert Spira on the topic of this thread back in 2020.



It's interesting to me that Tim Freke has experienced a shift with his new understanding, whereas before he used to identify with non-dual teachings, to the point that he now says his first 34 books no longer represent his views (!) and so in that way it's not been an easy transformation.

Freke seems more keen on pointing out and examining their differences, whereas for Spira those seem secondary to the more profound commonalities between them (a difference in language he mostly sees) and implications.

This isn't new to me, but I find it's important here when Spira explains that for him the world is real, whereas for 20 years he studied Advaita Vedanta and he had problems with some of its presentations where the world was deemed unreal.

Tim thinks Being precedes Consciousness - the latter emerges from Being and so is not fundamental. And he's quite a fair match for Spira, taking him to task that his understanding (that we've never had an experience that wasn't in consciousness, which means everything is a perception in consciousness, and therefore there is a "thing" called consciousness which knows itself) is a tautology and theory-laden, and not purely experiential/phenomenological as Spira thinks it is. I don't know who's right here!
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(2022-09-04, 02:35 AM)Ninshub Wrote: And he's quite a fair match for Spira, taking him to task that his understanding (that we've never had an experience that wasn't in consciousness, which means everything is a perception in consciousness, and therefore there is a "thing" called consciousness which knows itself) is a tautology and theory-laden, and not purely experiential/phenomenological as Spira thinks it is. I don't know who's right here!

Here's a shorter video from around the same time where Tim is revealing how his new understanding has shifted his entire outlook and how it hinges on this piece right here.

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His argument is convincing (not that consciousness isn't fundamental, i.e. FC, but that it isn't a given in our experience that it is). I look forward to his next book (the 36th!) where he'll share his new understanding (he had this breakthough in 2020, June to be exact it appears, and hasn't published a book since 2017). Emergentism seems to be a part of he's now talking about based on the video(s) about non-dual spirituality I included in the first post (from earlier this year).

It says a lot of good about him, honesty, fearlessness, that he's able to come to this place and in a way renounce a way of seeing that penetrates all of his former books and presentations!
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The first video I posted, which Tim Freke calls a "film", has a second part, and then is followed by this Q&A video, with participants:



I think there's an important point where Tim prefaces that when they called it "What's wrong with non-dual spirituality?", it's not to negate all of that and that it's all bad (Tim's own experience with Vedanta was largely positive, he says), but the main goal was to present new ideas that he feels are truer, and a further step, and that we need a new spirituality* that encompasses these new ideas.

Meanwhile Jessica also says in her mind it means "What's wrong with neo-Advaita?", rather than all non-dual spirituality.

(*I'm on board with that, but I'm not seeing how this new spirituality says anything about post-mortal existence, so it's bound to also be lacking to some extent in my view.)
(This post was last modified: 2022-09-04, 02:51 PM by Ninshub. Edited 1 time in total.)
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(2022-09-04, 12:56 AM)Ninshub Wrote: It's clear there, and elsewhere, that this is not something that is meant to be digested like a Big Mac. You need proper preparation, have certain qualifications, and practice other yogas like Karma Yoga and devotion yoga, and it really is meant, as I understand it, for recluses, not for people living in the world. You've got to be motivated to renounce the world. So no wonder very few Indians have walked down that path.

Yeah it's more a monastic tradition in India, at least that is how I was taught.

I guess to me it seems akin to the ayahuasca fad - value in pushing back against materialism but really a lot of people are jumping into things that, IMO, they want to use as a product rather than a transformation.

I suspect, also, that guys like Spira have fattened the bank accounts of their illusory selves by riding this trend. Maybe he's donating a ton of income to charities but I've not heard about it...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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(2022-09-04, 05:55 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: I suspect, also, that guys like Spira have fattened the bank accounts of their illusory selves by riding this trend.

I'm not sure what you're attributing to Spira there, is fair, Sci. Spira's are a lot more complex and nuanced than the Neo-Advaita teachings, which he dissociates himself from (and Tim Freke knows and agrees with this also, i.e. that Spira's views are not Neo-Advaita.)

I'd say Spira's view are 1) more clearly aligned with traditional Advaita Vedanta as opposed to Neo-Advaita, and 2) with a view that interprets some interpretations of Advaita Vedanta as wrong, i.e. the one that says the world does not exist. He puts a lot of emphasis on the transactional level of reality. That's why he includes other traditions like Kashmir Shaivism in his teachings (like Francis Lucille does), which emphasize the reality of the creation (Shakti) as much as the creator (Shiva), even if Shakti is born out of Shiva.

In the interview with Tim Freke I posted, he clearly states again that the world is real, and at some point at the end he says, "You are really Tim". Tim's Self exists, but according to Spira all Selves are the expression of an indivisible whole which is God's presence. A view which Tim agrees with.
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(2022-09-04, 03:13 AM)Ninshub Wrote:

(2022-09-04, 01:52 PM)Ninshub Wrote: His argument is convincing (not that consciousness isn't fundamental, i.e. FC, but that it isn't a given in our experience that it is).

Going back to this.

It's funny how things connect, but continuing to watch Rick Archer's 2021 interview with Christian Sundberg...



... at 1h22 Rick brings up Tim Freke's notion of emergentism, of a God coming into existence as the universe is, which is part of Tim's new notions, and criticizes it.

Aside from the unividualism thing, I think Tim's new notions are going backwards in some ways (not for him, it's obviously part of his own journey). I understand and tend to agree with his argument about how non-dualists coming to the conclusion of fundamental consciousness (FC) starting from our inner human experience is flawed, in the sense that it isn't a given.

But then Tim goes further and says he thinks consciousness isn't fundamental, it's part of this emergent universe or God. This is obviously in contradiction with Christian Sandburg's memories, including when he says "the universe is happening within us, not the other way around" (1h29). Christian later goes on to say how everything is created by consciousness and happens in it. ("Everything is happening within consciousness, by consciousness, of consciousness." 1h32). There are so many experiencers of various kinds where that is the message and you don't really get the opposite one.

So I think Tim is falling prey to the vulnerabilities of building a philosophical system that isn't based on or takes account of the psi and survival data. In some way, you can say the same thing about the other spiritual philosophers, including Spira, who build their systems through human phenomenology. It just so happens, I think, that Spira's conclusion that C is F happens to be right.

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There's definitely something a bit more Spira-ish than Freke-ish in what Christian is saying here:

Quote:We experience being separate and the separate self operates through an ego. And so when it grips onto that ego and it's trying super hard, it tends to create more of a distance. There's not actual distance but it tends to create more of a perceptual distance, because now we're deeply associated with this need, "I'm separate so now I have to find this answer". So if we let go and look at what is already there with no need, no requirement on you, and there's no stress, you just look, it's already there.

So does that mean there's something you can go do? No, I agree that as the separate self you can't sit down and go do it. Like I can't sit down and meditate and make myself have an out-of-body experience, that's not how it works, 'cause that's my separate self. But if one is willing to fully be alert and to feel everything, to be fully present with reality, those larger parts of ourself can rise up on their own. And then they're just there. They always were there, it's just we were so deeply associated with the story that we couldn't see them. (1h33-34).
(This post was last modified: 2022-09-05, 03:01 AM by Ninshub. Edited 3 times in total.)

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